Fanless, Ventless case
Forum: Hardware Talk
Topic: Fanless, Ventless case
started by: Zephrant
Posted by Zephrant on April 29 2006,04:27I'm looking for a case for a DSL box that I can mount near saltwater, so I want to minimize the air exchange though the unit to reduce corrosion.
I've found very few cases that don't at least have vent holes.
This one: < Serener GS-L02 > looks promising, but is pretty steep at $170.
Performance needs are minimal- 800MHz - 1Ghz fine I think.
Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Posted by kerry on April 29 2006,12:14How big a case? I knew a guy out in the shipyard who kept his in a large ziplock to protect it from the wet enviroment, he had one of those small ones like in the dsl store. He used the ziplock side to close around the wires, then a little duct tape to further seal around the wires. It's cheap but it worked for him.lol
Posted by Zephrant on April 29 2006,17:11Thanks for the note, but I need something that a little more presentable to an end customer.
Although maybe that opens up a new market for me- The redneck duct tape crowd.
Posted by clivesay on April 29 2006,17:30
Idea already taken. I was in a Fry's and saw 'NASCAR' PC's.
Posted by doobit on April 29 2006,21:06I think the VoomPC cases, which are all aluminium, don't have many holes. I have used various electronic equipment on board a sailboat that Ilived on for more than a year, and never had a corrosion problem.
Posted by Zephrant on April 30 2006,04:23
Now that is doomed to fail- if they aren't available at Wall Mart, how will rednecks ever know they exist?
I have been looking at the VoomPC cases. I sent a big long email requesting help picking a unit, and suggesting the VoomPC. Here is the email I go back from them.
A subsequent request for more information got this answer:
A third request for pictures of the holes (which don't show in any of their posted pictures) was ignored, as was a fourth request to a different address.
So since they don't need the business, I'll have to look elsewhere.
Posted by doobit on May 01 2006,15:02Why don't you make your own case, like I did? ( < http://www.louddata.com/minihog.html > )There is a metal lunchbox sold at Walmart that is 7"x9". It's that exact size to fit a mini-itx board with space for cables and a small hard drive. You can seal it with silicone or other marine sealant, and put O-rings around removeable parts. If you use an internal 12V ATX powersupply, then you don't need to put vent holes in the lunchbox for the fan. You can put a larger heat sink on the CPU and even connect it to the inside of the lunchbox to dissipate heat.
Posted by clivesay on May 01 2006,16:02doobit -
Didn't you put that up for sale? I'm curious if you were able to sell it to a Harley enthusiast.
Posted by doobit on May 01 2006,16:15
I did have it up for sale, and then changed my mind at the last minute. There were quite a few interested people, but it seemed like a some of them didn't understand the concept behind the computer. They were asking me if I would sell just the parts, or if they could run Windows on it. I suspect my photos are not the best, so maybe I'll to put together some better pix and try again in the future.
Posted by Zephrant on May 01 2006,17:02Making my own case is a good idea, but I intend to turn this in to a product I sell, and will need (hopefully) 100's of them.
Long term it probably still the best plan, but for now I'd rather concentrate on the software and custom boards I have to build, and not waste time building my own case and heat-pipe.
Thanks for the suggestions-
Posted by AwPhuch on May 01 2006,19:39Check this out
< http://www.mvktech.net/content/view/1978/39/1/6/ >
It appears in order to protect mobos from condensation they use conformal coating...thus running a mobo watercooled and refrigerated the condensation doesnt hurt it..this might be a viable solution for protecting the mobo..the drives..thats a different story
< http://www.hmcelectronics.com/cgi-bin/scripts/sub/Tech%20Spray/16/1 >
< http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/422a.html >
< http://www.action-electronics.com/ctlube.htm >
< http://www.pcguard.co.uk/ >
< http://www.pactecenclosures.com/ >
Posted by AwPhuch on May 01 2006,20:06The harddrives/periferial devices on the other hand are going to be the issue.
I would recommend a full enclosure or seal something like this
< http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl;js....&id=373 >
< http://www.inducomp.com/products/15hurricane.shtm >
Posted by humpty on May 01 2006,20:53perhaps silica gel might also help ??
Posted by AwPhuch on May 01 2006,21:16VoomPC Vehicle PC Enclosure
< http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=3#p1153 >
This looks very promising..to coat the mobo w/ conformal coating..now sealing a drive from the salt moisture...
However yes..conformal coat the mobo...use silicon to seal the backside of the "plugs" and bam, I can almost guarantee this sucker would be quite resiliant to salt moisture
Posted by Zephrant on May 03 2006,05:29Wow, thanks for the links-
The conformal coating idea is a good one- I suspect that would void the warrantee on the MBs though. A good idea for the boards I build myself though, and not a bad price on it.
I don't think my price point will support a full waterproof housing, but will be happy to look.
That "Hurricane" unit looks perfect for what I need. I'll track down a price, but I suspect it is out of my range too.
The VoomPC has a fan and venting at one end, but I could block that. What I've not found for it is a heat-pipe for the processor. I suspect that a system would overheat without something pulling the heat off the processor and dumping it in to the case.
I'm also concerned about the NIC plugs. I'm thinking of maybe siliconing the plugs in or using silicon O-ring lube to seal the pins. I don't want to make a big mess for the customers to deal with though.
I'm trying to get the Serener GS-L02 on order so I have something to start with. It's the best match for my needs that I've found so far. Just finishing the details on the mother board and all before I commit.
Thanks a lot for the help-
Posted by AwPhuch on May 03 2006,22:57I think the VoomPC case uses the case similar to the DSM, and/or you could always just find a copper block that buts up against the case to wick away the heat...once you conformal coat the mobo (you have to tape off the cpu and RAM slots and stuff b4 spraying..thus you could bolt down the regular cpu fan and it wouldnt be a problem)
Let us know how it goes for you
Posted by Zephrant on May 04 2006,04:32Another good idea- I have a small mill, so could certainly prototype a heat sink that wedged against the top of the box.
My gut feel is that I don't need to coat the MB if I keep it enclosed, although I would not know for sure until systems started failing a year or two from now.
I think I will coat my expansion pack boards- They will be closer to the water, so in a harsher environment.
Posted by Zephrant on June 01 2006,05:35Well I shelved this for a few weeks to let it ferment. I'm currently of the opinion that if I put a standard Mini-ITX board in an enclosed area, the fan on the heat sink would help circulate the heat in the case, which would help the fins on the outside of the case pull the heat out.
So I think that running a fan inside the closed case is better than no fan, as long as the fan does not fail.
So I'm looking at getting the < Phylon 7f2WE16 > board- It is a 1G VIA C7 board, with a small fan on it. The neat part is that I can add on 1-3 10/100 ports, or 3 1G ports for $42-$52. The Via PD6000 was my first choice, but it is end of lifed, and the replacements are not available yet.
I'd put it in the VoomPC case, and making a new sheet-metal end-cap that has my logo, and closes up the vent holes. Not sure if I'll use a thumb-drive, CF or HD for storage yet.
I plan to get one soon for testing- The last sticking point is if DSL would be happy running on that board.
VIA C7 1 GHz processor
VIA CN700 north bridge
VIA VT8237R south bridge
Posted by humpty on June 05 2006,15:58
Can't get boxes like that where I live. I was looking all day today for biscuit tins, and too my annoyance they were all round! Has anyone else got suggestions for DIY casings, perhaps camera casings or
old vhs cases whatever? i have a C3 board crying for a home!
Posted by doobit on June 05 2006,17:54
One of the choices I was looking at, that is also available almost everywhere, is one of those small lock-boxes. You know what I mean? It's the kind of small box with a handle on top and a lock in front that vendors use for cash at flea markets and such. They are made from faily heavy metal compared to the luchboxes. You can get them at any office supply store.
Posted by dougz on June 05 2006,18:57
Very clever. Never thought of that.
Example -- 11" W x 7-3/4" D x 4" H painted steel box with lock. US$10.99 < Office Max box >
Posted by humpty on June 06 2006,03:13hmm, maybe too thick to work on though.
not sure about drilling holes into one of those?
maybe just cut a slot and just bend the side in?
Posted by doobit on June 06 2006,13:05
Well, it's going to be durable, that's for sure.
You can work with anything with the right tools. If you don't have a rotory tool, then one way to do it is to drill holes where the ports need to show and use a file to shape them.
You can use Dupont 5300 to seal around them afterwards. They will never be totally sealed however because the port connectors themselves have holes that go straight through to the motherboard. The solution to that would be to use a DFI EBX board, which doesn't use a standard port block. Instead the EBX boards have the port connectors all on cables that plug into the motherboard. You could fashion your own port panel inside the box to secure the ports and then make smaller holes through the box to run cables to connect to them. The smaller holes could then be completely sealed around the cables.
I'm going to make one similar to this with a lunchbox when I get some free time.
Posted by kerry on June 08 2006,08:27I think i stumbled across what you were orignaly looking for.->
< http://www.visson.com.tw/en/products/applied%20computing/iceman.jsp >
Posted by Zephrant on June 09 2006,21:41Yes, that is VERY much what I was looking for. Too bad I just received my VoomPC cast last night.
They don't appear to have an office in the US, but I'll drop them a line, and report back here if I hear back from them.
As a side note, the VoomPC case is very hefty. I was surprised at how beefy the aluminum casting was, as well as the steel bottom plate. Extremely tough unit I suspect- the heft is unusual in today's world of plastic cases. The included fan is cheap and noisy, as is the one on the C7 from Phylon, but I'll find a way to silence them.
Posted by jsk8r on June 14 2006,16:21
If you want to kill a few hours, check out < http://www.mini-itx.com. > Users submit homemade mini ITX cases. Some of these are 'off da hook'. The frame on the right side of the page has a list of user-submitted cases. Check 'em out!
Posted by Zephrant on June 28 2006,20:35Just an update- the VoomPC case is pretty loud with the CPU fan as well as the case fan running. I bought 4 new 40mm case fans to try, and they are all way louder than acceptable for a media PC.
Disconnecting the case fan makes a huge difference, but then the CPU idles at 50 degrees C, higher than I'm comfortable running. When running like that the case gets warm to the touch, but not bad. I'm concerned about cooking the hard drive too though.
I'm looking in to getting a heat-pipe for it.
Posted by humpty on June 29 2006,10:25i couldn't believe how hard it was to find a cheap case on the streets.
I had to settle for a knife-rack of all things. Now I have to skin it with thick foil.